The Corps was introduced in 2018 by the Department of Youth Empowerment. One hundred and forty-one of the volunteers are tertiary school students who receive grant funding via the Supporting Advancement of Further Education (SAFE) programme. Forty-two of the volunteers are residents who stepped forward to give of their service.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Tom Buchanan, addressed the volunteers and congratulated them for their willingness to serve others. He described volunteerism as an expression of patriotism and encouraged the members to be agents of change in a time when “giving back” is waning.
“How do we cultivate or build a culture of volunteerism in the midst of a prevailing culture of individualism, tribalism and the wide spread desertion of the very idea of Country Above Self,” Mr. Buchanan stated, citing the national motto. “It requires people like these volunteers, bold and courageous people, who are willing to do bold and courageous things.”
Acting Director of Youth Empowerment, Pierre Liburd, recalled that he often volunteered during his formative years, particularly in high school. One such activity while he was at the then Sandy Point High School, saw him volunteering to assist with the costume making for students participating in carnival activities. The team worked late many evenings, bending wires, painting, gluing pieces together and the like.
“I can tell you now I developed a whole lot of skills, a lot of confidence and determination during those experiences that have benefited me then [to] now and I expect them to continue to benefit me,” he said.
In fact, Mr. Liburd was the chief costume designer for the 2018-2019 Junior Carnival Parade last month. He also coordinated the costume making. The acting director emphasized that the skills he developed by serving for free years ago, have now enabled him to make money.
“I encourage each and every one of you to see this … as an opportunity for each of you to grow, to develop skills, confidence, experiences, and a reputation that would make you invaluable to the whole of society and any person seeking to employ an individual of worth to contribute to their institution, businesses, colleges etc,” Director Liburd said.
Individuals interested in joining the Volunteer Corps can visit the Department of Youth Empowerment in St. Kitts on Cayon Street or telephone 467-1393.